Letters to the Editor, June 12, 2015

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 4:39pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 4:39pm

Insults based on sexuality unacceptable

I refer to Michael Chugani's Public Eye column ("Let's keep vulgar comments on lawmaker in perspective", June 10).

Exchanging heated criticism and denigrating comments and use of ridicule to express strong disapproval of political figures and their views are the hallmarks of any civilised and decent society.

They are rights which should be protected in a society which believes in freedom of speech. But slurs and insults, and other forms of abusive language on the basis of one's sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or ethnic or national origin, reflect a society where civil rights are in a woeful state.

In such a society, the government turns a blind eye to building a safe space for all, and by doing so fails to prevent possible escalation of violence.

The chief executive is mocked with the nickname of "689", the number of votes he received in the 2012 election, to protest against an undemocratic and dysfunctional political system imposed on the people of Hong Kong. If Chugani believes this is just as objectionable as mocking me with the sexually explicit slur of "three inches", because I am gay, then I leave it to your readers to decide whether his values and opinions reflect their own.

As a member of a racial and linguistic minority in Hong Kong, Chugani should be sensitive to the injuries that can be inflicted upon an individual and a society as a whole by hate speech.

In Legco, I, and my like-minded colleagues, push for protecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community from discrimination. We call for more resources for and better implementation of existing anti-discrimination laws and programmes protecting ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and women.

I am disappointed that Chugani, rather than speaking out for social justice and common sense, chose to side with those who have expressed such bigoted views.

Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, legislative councillor

Crackdown had become inevitable

I, for one, am sick to the back teeth of these perennial June 4 vigils and Legco antics of the self-righteous pan-democrats ("Vigil organisers agree on need for new direction" and "Academic calms fears of punishment for pan-dems", June 6).

They have turned the pleasant parks and playgrounds into a kind of "wailing wall" of Hong Kong.

Of course a violent crackdown would ensue in 1989 in Beijing when the students' democracy movement turned into nationwide, bloody street riots and the national landmark of Tiananmen Square became a health hazard.

Also, the mob refused to disperse even after pleas by premier Li Peng and party general secretary Zhao Ziyang .

The pan-democratic lawmakers keep talking about "no unreasonable restrictions" and "genuine free choice" if they are not to vote against the government's proposed reforms for the 2017 elections for chief executive.

The restrictions are reasonable and necessary to avoid a Hong Kong version of Taiwan's former president Chen Shui-bian being nominated.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan 

Important to grasp what vigil means

It is worth asking what is the meaning of the candlelight vigil, which is held every year in Victoria Park, to remember the June 4 massacre in Tiananmen Square.

It has been 26 years since it happened, and the vigil continues.

I think some go because they are still waiting for an explanation from the central government for what it did.

Some go to show respect for the victims. And some may just go for the fun for it and to have a hashtag to put on Facebook.

Hong Kong is the only place in China where people have the right and are allocated the space to gather to commemorate the June 4 massacre.

It is important for young people to learn about and comprehend the background and history of the massacre so they can show sincere respect for the victims.

They need to understand all the information they get about June 4 and really know why they are attending the vigil. They will then have learned far more than they would during a lesson in a classroom. We should be thankful that we in Hong Kong are still free to express our own views on political affairs.

This vigil is not the place for a hashtag on the internet. It is an occasion to be respectful and treasure the experience.

Lee Po-ying, Sheung Shui

More events like Earth Hour needed

Research in 2013 showed that Hong Kong had the worst light pollution of any city in the world.

In the worst areas, it can make sleep difficult for nearby residents.

At night, in streets, you see so many brightly lit advertising billboards, as well as neon lights and street lights.

Apart from causing some people to suffer from insomnia, it is a dreadful waste of energy.

This problem is particularly bad in densely populated urban areas like Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui.

I would like to see more activities like the annual Earth Hour being organised in order to raise people's levels of awareness.

Tai Yin-mui, Shenzhen

Shopping online does have its pitfalls

With the rapid development of the internet, online shopping has become increasingly popular.

It is certainly a very convenient way to make purchases, but some people have expressed concern about the risk of it becoming addictive.

For Hongkongers, it is a great way to shop, because they work such long hours and do not have much spare time.

With online shopping platforms they can buy something within minutes. Also, the prices charged are generally very competitive, so you can often get a bargain.

It is also a good way for people wanting to set up a retail business, but who are short of funds. And they can promote their website online as opposed to paying for a costly advertising campaign. But, I accept that it can be addictive, especially for impressionable teenagers.

It is also more difficult to check the authenticity of a sale online and there are a lot of people using fraudulent practices.

I think overall the benefits of internet shopping outweigh the drawbacks.

Nadia Lam Wun-hei, Kowloon Tong

Recognising importance of English

I refer to Alex Lo's column ("Don't sideline the English language", June 9).

He alleges that the government is increasingly neglecting the use of English in communicating with the media and public. This is untrue.

The chief executive and the Hong Kong SAR government fully appreciate the importance of maintaining both Chinese and English communication with the public.

The annual policy address speeches, budget speeches, the estimates, announcements of public policies, press releases, and papers prepared for the Legislative Council, for example, are all published in Chinese and English.

As for speeches delivered by government officials at functions where they officiate, the language they use follows the language used by the host.

The government does not have any policy of preferring one language to the other.

Anson Lai, assistant director (media), Chief Executive's Office 

Flats in parks will make bad air worse

Correspondents who back building flats in country parks should remember how important they are to a lot of people.

I appreciate that the shortage of land on which to build homes is a serious problem in Hong Kong.

However, these parks are precious places for the enjoyment of all Hong Kong citizens, including families and elderly residents. For some, they offer the opportunity to take a rest from long hours at work.

Also, such a policy would exacerbate air pollution in Hong Kong. Land in the country parks would have to be cleared to build homes, including trees which absorb carbon dioxide.

Instead of encroaching on the country parks, the government should be undertaking more projects involving the redevelopment of older buildings.

Michelle Mai, Sau Mau Ping 

Mobile phone monitoring app invasive

I do not approve of the app in South Korea that allows parents to monitor the mobile phone activity of their children.

Parents should not infringe their children's privacy.

There is nothing wrong with them teaching their sons and daughters responsible use of these devices, but they should not be so invasive.

This is not the best way to know what their children are doing and it will undermine the trust that should exist between children and parents and leave their children feeling upset.

Nicole Tse, Hang Hau